How to Quote on Lawns – The Complete Guide.




How to Quote on Lawns – The Complete Guide

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How To Quote On Lawns – The Complete Guide.

There are a few different ways people will approach your business for a quote. You will get leads coming in through email, phone, text, and Facebook messenger and you will also be approached while you are out mowing lawns. It is going to be a bit hard to qualify all incoming leads but do your best. 

Sometimes with emails or messages, it is best just to book the quote. If you answer back with a question then you may never hear from them again. However, do ask questions when you are on the phone. It is always the best tool for qualifying incoming leads. 

You want to know as much as you can find out about the job before you spend the time needed to visit the property. When you quote on lawns a few well-thought-out questions before visiting can save you a considerable amount of time later on.

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You also need to work out the hourly rate that you want.

How much do you want to earn in an eight-hour day? 

Now, I know you are going to want as much as possible, but you need to think about what everyone else is charging. If the average one-person lawn mowing business is turning over $2000 a week you need to start from there. I would allow 50% for running costs which leaves you an income of $1000 before taxes, Acc, etc. You can find more information on that here. Now take the $2000 and divide that by a forty-hour workweek. To reach this turnover, you will need to earn $50 an hour. Now this should be easy you charge $50 an hour, and you’ve got it covered, right?


You will not be actively producing income for those 40 hours as you are also going to spend time traveling, fueling up and quoting, debt collecting, and running your equipment in for repairs when needed. If you are lucky, you will spend six and a half hours a day actively mowing lawns. Now the equation is different. To produce $400 a day you will now need to charge $60 an hour.

The sums above are just an example of how you should be thinking about your hourly rate.

One more thing I would like you to think about is this.

The average traveling time between lawns for a well-set-up business should be around 7 minutes. The average time between starting one lawn and starting the next should be around 40 minutes (assuming you are mowing average size domestic lawns). This means that if you are mowing a 60-minute lawn you have saved yourself travelling time so you could take 7 minutes off the price of the lawn and still hit your daily target. 

For example, a 90-minute lawn will save you around 10 minutes of traveling time so you could quote $80 and still hit your daily target. 

This is something that a lot of contractors miss and it leads to overpricing on bigger lawns, so they do not get the job. 

What to remember when quoting lawns

  1. Always have a minimum price.
  2. Also, it pays to have a minimum quote for a one-off mow. (a one-off is not a regular mow). Establishing this upfront will save you running halfway across town for a verge. 

I will give you an idea of how this works, my minimum amount is $25, but my minimum price for a one-off is $60. A one-off job is not my core business, so I don’t want even to do a quote unless the caller agrees to my minimum price. I tell them it may be more, but it won’t be any less. I say that provided the job takes 60 minutes or less it will be $60. You need to do your sums and decide what a reasonable minimum charge for your business might be.

You need to balance your time invested vs income received.

Video How to Quickly Quote a Lawn Using Google Maps

A few things to confirm on the phone before heading out to do the quote.

Most of your leads will come in via telephone, so before heading out to quote on lawns, there are a few questions it is prudent to ask, so you have an idea of the kind of quote you are booking. You may even rule out some leads at this point. The main things you may want to know are

  • Do they want a one-off cut or a regular booking?

If the caller wants a one-off cut, then give them your minimum price. If the caller agrees to this then go to the next step. If they don’t agree with your minimum charge, then you have saved yourself a trip. For a regular cut continue as below. 

If you are just starting off you may decide not to have a minimum charge for a while and this is fine. Always do what you think is best for your business. 

  • Full name, number, and address. ( confirm the spelling of the address, so you know you have it right.)
  • Any details about the job. 
  • Do they have a dog?
  • Can they please tell me where they saw your phone number

How to quote to win.

You need to be presentable when you arrive at the quote. Have your logo on your shirt and have your vehicle signwriting if possible. Signage may be unaffordable when you first start, but you should work towards it. Doing this will help you secure more quotes in the future. It will also get you more walk-up quotes while you are working. 

On a personal level, some spray-on deodorant in the truck and use it if you have been mowing lawns all day (you don’t want to smell like you have been mowing lawns all day). Get your clipboard and a pen for notes. Grab one of your business cards and clip that onto the board as well.

Do NOT walk around the house without knocking on the door first. Take your sunglasses off; people like to see your eyes. If the customer opens the door you smile, introduce yourself, and give them your card. Tell them that you have just called in to have a look at their lawn. Listen to what the customer tells you. Tell them you will have a look around and come back to see them. If they want to walk around with you, that is fine. Do not give them a price until you have seen the entire lawn.

If they had a lawn care contractor and they are now looking for a new one, ask what the old lawn care contractor was doing wrong. You need to know this. I have had some answers to this question that I would never have guessed, so I make a note and carry on. 

One lady canceled her lawn mowing contractor because he was not including a large weed in her garden when weed eating. I would not have seen that as part of the job myself but now I knew, I hit it once a month with the weedeater. It took me less than a minute and made all the difference to the customer. 

You can also use this as a chance to spot overly fussy customers that will be incredibly hard to please. If the customer starts giving you a laundry list of everything the last two lawn care contractors have done wrong then, this is your cue to leave quickly. You do not want that job. Be polite, quote high, and get out of there.

If after knocking, no one answers then leave your card in the door and have a look around the property.

There are two ways to quote on a lawn once you are there

  1. Measure the lawn with a measuring wheel.
  2. Do a guestimate – Work out how long you think this job will take and quote based on your hourly rate. (my preferred method) I usually have a base price of $1 a minute. This keeps things simple. 

When you start, it doesn’t matter if your quotes are a bit out. If after a few cuts the time is still not right then give them a price increase. They will either stay or go. It doesn’t matter because if you have timed the job, your next quotes will be more accurate.

Measuring Wheel

Measuring wheel

Things to factor into your price.

When you are looking at a lawn, you should think about anything that may slow you down and make the job take longer. Take note of these things and consider them when you quote on lawns.

Here are some of the more common things you should look at

Distance – how far away is the job? – Your average traveling time should be within 7 minutes from the last lawn and no further than 30 minutes from your base. Does this yard fit that model? If not, do you want the job? 

If you do want the job, you should allow for travel in your quote. The traveling time you should factor in needs to be the traveling time AFTER the allotted 7 minutes or 30 minutes from home. Remember you are only going out of your way by that amount you are not leaving from home to drive out to do that job and then drive home. It will be an add-on to your existing day. 

If it is 15 minutes from your nearest lawn, you will need to charge the extra 7 minutes each way (14 minutes), not the whole 30 minutes of travel. You would be spending that 16 minutes traveling anyway. There is an exception to this rule if the lawn is huge and you have a large mower then the trip may be worthwhile so you may consider reducing or waiving the traveling fee.

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How often is the lawn being done? –  A weekly lawn will take less time than a two-weekly lawn. If someone wants you to price a three-week or monthly cut in peak growing season, the quote is probably, not worth doing, so price it to make it worth your while if you end up getting the job. If they ask for a monthly mow in peak growing season I usually quote at least my One-Off price. 

What size mower do you use? – The larger your mower is, the less time you will spend on the job so you can price a bit more competitively. If you have anything 38 inches (965cm) or over it pays to carry a tape measure and check the size of the gates to make sure your machine will fit through.

Is the lawn level? – If the lawn has hills, it is going to take longer to mow and will be harder work. Price for this.

Do they want a mulch or the grass caught? If so do they have a dump spot if they want you to take the grass away?

  • A mulch will take less time, so it is the cheaper option. I would not recommend this in areas where small children or dogs could bring the grass into the house. You should make the customer aware of this if they want a mulch. Tell them that after a mulch mow, this will only be an issue for a couple of days.
  • If they want the grass caught and left in a compost bin, then the job will take longer. I find 20% more covers this for me, but it may be different for you. If they want you to catch and take the grass away, I usually charge 5% extra for this.

Do they have a lot of trees in the section? – You are going to need to weed eat around all of these trees. If they have more than half a dozen, this is going to cost you extra time so you should allow for that on the quote. Another thing is cabbage tree leaves as these cannot be mowed over and will have to be picked up manually. This will add time to the job. 

Are their swings, slides, or trampolines on the property? – If so can they be moved? If they can be moved then allow for the time needed to move them once. Tell the customer each time you will mow around it, move it to a mowed spot, and then mow where it was. You will not be moving it back unless they specify that is what they want. If the customer wants it put back after mowing, then you need to charge for moving it twice. If the property has something that cannot be moved such as a fixed trampoline, then do they want you to mow underneath? That will cost extra. The same goes for swing sets. If they have a slide attached you will most likely need to line trim around them as they are usually flimsy and can get damaged if you try to move them.

What is it going to be like in Spring and autumn? – In spring it is going to take you 10-20% longer. Allow for this. Look at the trees on the property are there any huge trees that are going to drop all their leaves in Autumn? Mowing up all the leaves will increase the time you spend on the job. Allow for this or tell them that you can do leaf clean-up in Autumn for x amount of dollars. If the customer agrees to this, then you will not have to allow for that time for that when you quote on lawns. 

Do you actually want the job? – If not, the quote at a price that would put a smile on your face while you do the job. I have a few of these lawns on my books. 

If they have an overflowing glass bin and stacks of empty beer cans then approach with caution. If the job looks dodgy then quote 25% more than the job is worth. Run them on prepay to start. Once you have done four cuts then you now have an extra cut up your sleeve. You can then afford to give them credit as they are now one cut in advance. If they don’t pay then you stop visiting and you don’t even have the unpleasant task of chasing them for payment as you were charging extra from day one. 

How is parking? – Is it easy? Can you get your gear off without any trouble? If you have a trailer can you turn around if you have to? I have been to drives that actually took five minutes to reverse out. You should be charging for that. Do they have a grass price up the center of their drive and you have to move your vehicle twice? Is it a shared driveway and you have to park on the road? Check the street is there a bus stop outside or a no-parking zone? Is there a clear way at certain times? You need to take all of these things into consideration.

Are there any tricky areas? – Like an area where you have to turn off the mower and take it up or down steps. Sometimes there is a lawn that needs mowing in a lower walled area of the lawn, or they may have lots of retainer walls. All of these things will increase your time.

Is the lawn messy? – Are there toys all over the place or rubbish? Are there lots of cars parked on the lawn? Is there a couple of hoses that need moving every time? If you are going to spend more than a few minutes moving something, you will need to build that into the price.

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If a lawn looks like this every time you visit you should charge more.

Are there dogs? – If so, are the dogs going to be inside or outside when you visit? I like dogs, but if the dog is out and about while you work, then you will need to keep the gates shut at all times, and this will increase your time. Is there lots of dog poo around? Does it look like they pick them up? Charge more if they don’t.

Dog chasing lawnmower.

This is a dog I met who made mowing the lawn a bit difficult.

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How to quote the customer.

Once you have looked at all these things, it is time to give a quote to the customer. If they are standing in front of you, the best thing to do is to provide them with a verbal quote there and then. If you are quoting based on time, do not tell the customer this. They will expect a discount if you end up getting a better time and they will not offer you more if it takes longer. Note their reaction. Did they look surprised and then you didn’t get the job? You don’t want this to become a common occurrence. It may be a sign that you are quoting too high if this is happening a lot when you quote on lawns. 

I find that securing one quote in three is pretty standard for my business. 

Decide ahead of time if you are prepared to negotiate and what your limit is. Do not offer to negotiate unless asked. Most established businesses do not negotiate at all.

I have developed a trick with counter offers and it works quite well. If I quote $35 they say “Can you mow the lawn for $30?” I tell them “I will have another look around and let them know” I then head off to look at the lawn again. When I come back I say “Sorry now that I have had another look and thought about it, I actually think it is a $40 lawn” The customer is always surprised they usually come back to my original offer which I accept. 

They got to barter and I got the price I wanted. Everyone is happy. 

When you get home, send out a text to everyone, who did not accept your quote that day. Don’t be pushy. The text should read something like “Thanks for the opportunity to quote on your lawn. Here are the details of the quote, so you have a copy for your records”. Now you get to have a second bite at the job. You could also use this text to reduce your price a bit if you have been thinking all day that your quote may have been too high. It can happen to the best of us. Because you gave them a verbal quote, then they will most likely assume they heard you wrong, or you gave the incorrect price.

If they accept the price you can do the job immediately if possible. The sooner you secure the job, do it, and ensure the next booking. It will be a deciding factor in how fast your business grows. There are times when I have been too busy to fit a new lawn in, and I have booked for the next day only to turn up and find it already done. Another contractor had turned up and done the job there, and then so I lost the job. Always do the job the same day if you can.

When I call in and the customer is not home then I will call them on their mobile with the quote. If they answer, tell them you are at their place now and give them a verbal quote. If they give you the go-ahead and you feel you can trust them to pay, then do the job straight away and book the next mow. 

 If no one answers the phone leave a message saying you have called in and will call them later. Then set your reminder to call them back in two hours. If you still cannot get an answer with the second call don’t leave a message wait until you get back when you get home and call back then. If you don’t get through after work, then text them a quote.

If the customer wants a written quote, I use a quote notepad that I get made by Vistaprint. When I fill it in and make the quote number, the date 11/7/21 becomes 1107. I then photograph the quote with my phone and put the jpeg in a folder when I get home. If I’m looking for it later and the customer gives me the quote number I can easily find it. These notepads cost less than $15 each, and You can buy one at a time as you need them from Vista. I design my own, but I’ve got a design background. If you need someone to design one for you let me know. I have my own templates. 

Quote form Gecko Lawns

A sample of our Vista notepad quote form


Down under-price jobs – You really want to avoid going down the budget route. Avoid words like cheap and budget in your advertising. It may start well, but you will end up struggling to pay for decent equipment. You will be dealing with breakdowns, and your expenses will go up. Your pricing will attract cheap transient customers who will turn out to be unreliable. One day you will realize you are not making any money and stop altogether. In the industry, this is called “undercutting” or “fly by night.” This kind of business model does not have a future.

What about starting by charging low? – This is not what I would recommend but if it is what you have to do to get your foot in the door that would be okay. However, once you have got your foot in the door you will need to start quoting market prices. Your business will fail if you continue any further down this road.

Pricing too high – You can price high but do be aware that you are going to lose a lot of quotes. I work on the assumption that I am going to get one in every three quotes. If you price high, it could become one in eight and every quote will cost you around half an hour of your time. You can quote premium prices if you want but you really need an established business with an excellent reputation to be able to do that successfully.

Offering a discount – Offering a discount is something you may want to consider. However, it is not something I would recommend. I applaud any lawn mowing contractor who offers a pensioners discount, but this will come at a cost to their business. The main issue here is that you don’t just give the discount once. It is the price they pay forever so every time you mow the lawn, it will be underpriced. If your goal is to maximize your income this will not help.

Every discounted lawn you spend time on is time that could be spent on a full-priced lawn and your time is limited. Remember this when you quote on lawns. 

If your goal is to do a service for the community, you would be better off finding someone in need through an association like the Salvation Army and mowing their lawn for free. Again this will depend on your goals for your business.

Having said that I do sometimes offer a small discount on a first cut for a customer if their lawn is overgrown and they are paying extra for the first mow. This kind of discounting is a method of securing a contract and is only offered once.

Price is not your only tool to get a job – There are other things you can offer other than a discount. You can use your point of difference. Every good business has one. Is there something that you do as part of your standard operating procedure that no one else offers? This will be your point of difference. To give you an idea here are some examples

  • Offer a free courtesy text the night before you turn up.
  • Advertise as dog-friendly.
  • Have a policy that any branch that touches your van on your way down the customer’s drive gets trimmed.
  • You do all quotes within one hour. Opening hours only.

That last one is a bit harder to do and requires good management, but you get the idea.

One last bite at the cherry.

Another thing that I do is use follow-up texts.

If I mow a one-off job I will text back in two weeks and ask if they would like another cut. 

“Hi _______ here from __________. I mowed your lawn a couple of weeks ago. Just a quick text to let you know that if you wanted a mow this week it would cost you $??. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks”

If they say yes, book them in. If they say no, do not contact them again. 

I will work out this quote when I do the initial job. If they say yes, then I mow the lawn and contact them again in another two weeks. If you manage to do this a few times they usually turn into a regular cut. 

You could also text quotes you didn’t get after around six weeks and say. ““Hi _______ here from __________. I quoted $?? on your lawn a while ago. I hope everything is going well with your new contractor. If there are any problems please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks”

If you keep a list of all your quotes in Google Calendar it will make it easier to find them and follow up if needed. 

In closing.

Quoting may seem confusing at first but don’t worry too much about it. You will get good and bad quotes accepted. The real secret is to keep the lower-paying lawns until you can replace or price-increase them.

I still make the occasional “What on earth was I thinking” quote. It happens. Move on, always time your lawns, and don’t be afraid to price increase when necessary.

Remember that it doesn’t hurt to get quotes wrong as long as you learn from the experience. 

I hope this helped and I would like to wish you success with your business. 

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About the author

2 responses to “How to Quote on Lawns – The Complete Guide.”

  1. Niki Bota Avatar
    Niki Bota

    Hi there I’m about to quote my first ride on job there’s 1 acrea to mow.
    I live in Ashburton. I would like to charge correctly and fairly or do I charge by the hour or by 1/4 acrea
    Mileage km ?
    Niki Bota.

    1. lawnmowing101 Avatar

      Hi Niki
      We mainly specialise in push mower work (by choice) but the guys that I know that are doing that kind of work are currently charging out around $100-$120 an hour.
      However, do not quote by the hour.
      Figure out how long you think it will take to do the job and times that by your hourly rate. Keep track of your time on the job to make sure you are making the income you want.
      Remember it is not a marriage.
      You can always revisit the price after a few mows if you find out you have underquoted. The worst that can happen is that they cancel.

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